How Many Ants Are There in the World?
Counting the number of ants on earth is a question that has been asked by many naturalists. However, systematic estimates are lacking. Until now, scientists have estimated the number of ants on earth by extrapolating data from different regions.
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong’s School of Biological Sciences published results of their research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study uses data from 489 studies to estimate the size of the ant population on the planet.
The scientists found that ants are distributed unevenly across the planet. They are more common in tropical forests than in other regions. They are also very abundant in arid regions. The researchers speculate that the ant distribution patterns may be related to climate or human land use. They also say that it is important to monitor the global ant population.
The ants are important for maintaining global ecosystems. They help aerate the soil and eat a wide range of organic material. However, their numbers are declining across the globe. Scientists need to know the number of ants on earth to track the population changes caused by climate change and invasive species.
Scientists estimate that the biomass of ants is greater than that of wild mammals and birds. The total biomass of the world’s ants is approximately twenty percent of the biomass of human beings. Combined, they weigh more than two million tonnes. The ants’ biomass is also larger than that of all non-human mammals.